Rise from television journalist to UN ambassador nominee

State Department spokesman Heather Nauert, 48, spent most of her professional life in television journalism, making a name for herself as a pundit, reporter and anchor at Fox News, where she worked for nearly two decades before being picked for the government role last year.

The soon-to-be United States ambassador to the United Nations was with Fox News from 1998 to last year, apart from a two-year break from 2005 to 2007 when she worked as an ABC News correspondent.

The Illinois native and daughter of an insurance executive attended Arizona State University, making her first foray into television when she landed a summer internship hosting a country music video programme in Washington in 1992.

She stayed on in the capital to finish school at Mount Vernon College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication.

Over the next few years, she worked for small businesses and insurance companies as a lobbyist, and as a government affairs consultant for trade associations and corporations.

Ms Nauert ventured again into TV in 1995 when she joined a political talk show called Youngbloods on a local conservative cable network, and a year later when she landed a stint as a business news reporter for a US Chamber of Commerce programme.

But her big break came in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998, when television networks were eager to showcase more young conservative female pundits, the Washington Post said in a profile of Ms Nauert published in 2000.

She impressed producers during her turns on TV and Fox News offered her a contract that year.

Ms Nauert also went to Columbia University to get a master's degree in journalism in 2000.

At Fox, she oversaw breaking news and covered foreign and domestic crises, interviewing senior elected and military officials, according to her profile on the State Department website.

She also had TV experience of a different kind, playing herself in three episodes of the TV drama 24 in 2010.

By 2012, she was a news presenter on Fox and Friends, the daily morning show which President Donald Trump watches regularly.

She was in the thick of things during the 2016 election season, reporting on the presidential primaries, the Republican and Democratic conventions, presidential debates and the inauguration.

Ms Nauert was chosen to be State Department spokesman in April last year and was promoted to its fourth-highest post in March this year, becoming Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

She remained acting Under Secretary until Oct 10 - the maximum period she could legally serve - but coincidentally it fell on the day after outgoing UN ambassador Nikki Haley announced her resignation.

The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs post is currently vacant.

Her stint as State Department spokesman was not without misstep, with her comments in July calling the D-Day invasion of Normandy evidence of the "strong relationship" between the US and Germany drawing criticism.

Ms Nauert is married to investment banker Scott Norby, with whom she has two children.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Rise from television journalist to UN ambassador nominee'. Print Edition | Subscribe